The transition of the Monegasque education system is in full innovation

The sound of the school bell is close enough for 5,745 primary and secondary school students enrolled in Monegasque Public Schools and State Approved Private Schools. Therefore, it is time to take an exam and make future scenarios for the start of the school year from 9e September 2019 until 26e June 2020.

The international luxury magazine HelloMonaco at the 2019-2020 back-to-school press conference (François d’Assise – Institution Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019). © Maurizio Abbati

“I want the relationship with students, families, teaching and non-teaching staff to be as good as the previous school year,” said Isabelle Bonnal, director of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, by opening the Back-to-school press conference on the 4e September 2019 at the new headquarters of the Francis of Assisi – Nicolas Barré (FANB) Institution, inaugurated in April 2019 in rue Roqueville.

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Isabelle Bonnal, Director of the Monegasque Department of Education, Youth and Sports, during the 2019-2020 back-to-school press conference (Établissement François d’Assise – Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019). © Communication Department

Monsignor Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco, HE Patrice Cellario, Minister of the Interior, Brigitte Boccone-Pagès, Vice-President on behalf of the President of the National Council of Monaco, Frédéric Genta, Country Chief Digital Officer, and others distinguished guests attended the event.

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Isabelle Bonnal, Director of the Monegasque Department of Education, Youth and Sports, during the 2019-2020 back-to-school press conference (Établissement François d’Assise – Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019). © Communication Department

The Monegasque education system seems to confirm its added value based on high-level education and on solid preparation of students in their school cycle until the closing exams since it can count on an extremely high level of education with a particular focus on the Monegasque Baccalaureate. which, last year, recorded an overall success rate equal to 99.54% with individual trends close to 100% for General and Technological Studies as well as Vocational Training. All this is not by chance, but it is the result of a win-win synergy between the educational community and the Monegasque Government. But what makes these results so special?

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Monsignor Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco, HE Patrice Cellario, Minister of the Interior, and other distinguished guests present at the 2019-2020 back-to-school Press Conference (François d’Assise – Institution Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019 ). © Communication Department

Isabelle Bonnal (IB), director of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, gave HelloMonaco some interesting feedback on this and underlined how proud she was of what has been achieved so far.

Hello Monaco: What are the strengths of this return to school?

IB: To look at official statistics on the primary and secondary cycle, there is an increase in the number of resident pupils compared to Monegasque and external pupils who are well represented in each sector. This shows that more and more international families are seeking to settle in the Principality and entrust their children to local education. In addition, the teaching and non-teaching staff amounted to 858 members for the 2019-2020 school year, including newly registered teachers from Monaco. This remarkable goal contributes to high standards.

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Isabelle Bonnal, Director of the Monegasque Department of Education, Youth and Sports, at the opening of the 2019-2020 back-to-school press conference (François d’Assise Establishment – Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019). © Direction de Communication

Hello Monaco: What new projects are you currently involved in?

IB: New education challenges are coming. First, a weekly course on computer programming will be aimed at all older students from 5 to 15 within the e-education program “Extended Monaco, Smart City”, launched by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco in April 2019. It aims to develop the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical skills necessary to build their future of “digital citizenship”. Thus, each teacher in public primary and secondary schools will receive a free laptop computer to encourage a new educational approach. In partnership with the NGO ‘Action Innocence’, moreover, a specific campaign to raise awareness among students on the main dangers of the Internet will continue with the help of qualified psychologists. Secondly, environmental issues, including food waste, will be an integral part of the pedagogical training to make students debate on crucial subjects that push us to rethink models of human development. In this context, extracurricular activities will be planned such as a project involving middle and high school students to discover the urban extension ‘Anse du Portier’, in collaboration with the company in charge of it. At the same time, some of them will be called upon to design and build, as a team, a nanosatellite capable of measuring the effects of climate change, under the responsibility of the very recent company Orbital Solutions Monaco. Thirdly, three new sports disciplines will be introduced: ultimate, zumba and basketball, while “Pass’Sport Culture”, a personalized leisure card, will be extended to 11 to 25 year olds.

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Isabelle Bonnal, Director of the Monegasque Department of Education, Youth and Sports, presenting the Transition of the Monegasque Education System (François d’Assise Establishment – Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019). © Communication Department

Hello Monaco: What are the most relevant reforms concerning education?

IB: The Baccalaureate the education reform, completed by the end of 2021, is certainly one of the most relevant and concerns secondary school students who will have to choose three specialized streams alongside common subjects. Teachers and students will be guided to new commitments.

To encourage inclusive education, moreover, a specific tutoring program will be put in place to improve the learning skills of students who need more clarification or who have cognitive problems. In severe cases, special “adaptation and school integration” classes will be activated. Following the tests at the École de la Condamine, in 2017, all children in public primary education will wear school uniform to increase their sense of belonging to a school community. A targeted teaching team will continue to provide academic support to all students and adolescents hospitalized at the Princess Grace Hospital Center.

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Final thanks from Isabelle Bonnal, Director of the Monegasque Department of Education, Youth and Sports, during the 2019-2020 back-to-school press conference (François d’Assise Establishment – Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019). © Communication Department

Hello Monaco: Is there a new project for the future in terms of school infrastructure?

IB: Among the major projects, the new headquarters of the ‘College Charles III’ is under construction in Fontvieille given his opening in 2023. The other existing school buildings are constantly monitored and renovated to ensure a safe environment.

Press conference: Transition of the Monegasque education system
Interview session with Isabelle Bonnal, Director of the Monegasque Department of Education, Youth and Sports, during the 2019-2020 back-to-school press conference (François d’Assise Establishment – Nicolas Barré, September 4, 2019 ). © Communication Department

Thus, the Monegasque Educational System is in radiant health, inspired by the highest values ​​of education and it will be worthily celebrated in November on the occasion of the 30e Anniversary of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child through a world premiere screening of Pascal Plisson’s film on the life of Gogo, a “young” 94-year-old schoolgirl, and a benefit concert with Michael Gregorio at the Grimaldi Forum. Get ready for school, then!

Janice G. Ball